How to choose the best toothbrush for a dog

How to Choose the Best Toothbrush For a Dog

How to choose the best toothbrush for a dog

Do you know how to choose the best toothbrush for a dog? Do you even brush your dog’s teeth?? If you don’t you’re not alone, a lot of pup parents either don’t realise how important it is, aren’t sure how to do it, or can’t get near enough to their dog’s mouth to try!

This post is just about choosing the best toothbrush, but to learn more about the importance of brushing

Read this Canines and Cavities: The Importance of Oral Care in Dogs 

Read this  Bad Breath in Dogs 

Things to consider before you buy

The size of your dog – bigger dog, bigger teeth, bigger brush. Having said that you may find your dog is so easy going you can easily brush his teeth, and do a great job with a smaller head.  

The temperament of your dog. For example, if your dog won’t be thrilled or will be moving around a lot, it’s possible a finger brush can come off and get swallowed. This doesn’t mean it will happen, I’m just giving you How to Choose The Best Toothbrush For a Dogsomething to think about!!

The head on a doggie toothbrush is angled differently, made specifically for the shape of a dog’s mouth.  

Make sure it’s comfortable for you to hold. The handle on a human brush tends to be shorter so it could be a harder reach, particularly if you have a large dog.

The bristles should be quite soft, a human baby toothbrush may be fine.

Buy doggie toothpaste (or make your own), but NEVER use the human kind.

Getting your dog used to a toothbrush

Some dogs will let you do anything, including coming at them with a foreign object and sticking it in their mouth!! However if your dog is like mine that’s never going to happen.   

Here are some tips to help you get best results –

  • Do it when he’s tired after a long walk so he’s calmer
  • Choose a quiet spot
  • Depending on the size of your dog, and of course the position he’s most comfortable in, hold him in your lap or sit next to him
  • Rub your finger, a soft cloth or even a flat cotton pad over the outside of your dog’s teeth. You don’t want to stick your finger in his mouth right away in case he decides to show you how much he doesn’t like what you’re doing!! Start with just a few teeth and take it from there
  • Once he’s comfortable, put a tiny drop of toothpaste on your finger and let him lick it off. Don’t be discouraged if he hates it, there are a few flavours you can try. Now you’re ready to put some of the paste on the cloth, and gently rub it on the outside of his teeth and gums
  • Once he’s loving it, okay tolerating it, you can try using a toothbrush. If he resists all attempts and you’ve tried all the styles, carry on using the cloth. He will still benefit from it
  • It is important to do this “training” very slowly and gradually. If you rush he may not let your near him again, so take your time and don’t move on to the next step until he’s totally comfortable with what you’ve been doing
  • Be sure to give lots of praise, whether that’s a healthy treat or a favourite toy, whatever motivates him

How to brush your dog’s teeth

Rather than me trying to explain it in words, this video will do a much better job!

How often to brush

Ideally you’re going to want to do it every day, but if that’s not possible for whatever reason, then the next answer would be as often as you can.

Will your dog still need a professional cleaning?

Even if you’re doing a great job, it’s still likely your dog will need a cleaning done by your vet. Speak to him (or her) about how often he recommends, but be sure he has a good look in your dog’s mouth during routine appointments.

Okay let’s talk toothbrushes!

Toothbrushes for dogs come in a few different types, styles and sizes so there is one to fit your dog’s mouth.

Single head toothbrush

Like the name suggests this style has one head.

Double ended

This style has a head on either end – one large and one small. Perfect for brushing different sized teeth…on the same dog!

Double headed
 This style allows you to brush both surfaces of the tooth at the same time.

Electric toothbrush

Yep, an electric toothbrush! Before going anywhere near your dog with it, turn it on to check the noise level because too loud could scare him. Find out the return policy before you purchase.

360° toothbrush

This style is designed to brush teeth from every angle.

Finger toothbrush

This toothbrush fits over your finger, and is made of silicone or microfiber.

Which style toothbrush for what size dog?

It’s an interesting question, so I did some research. I know what I’ve tried and ultimately felt the most comfortable using, but I was curious about what others were doing and found an awful lot of conflicting advice.

For example, I’ve read comments from people who believe a finger toothbrush is best for large dogs, while others thought it was a very bad idea because too much of your hand has to go into a dog’s mouth. See what I mean?

Here’s how I chose  

I have a blind almost 17 year old Chihuahua/Min Pin named Red, and she weighs about 8lbs or so. She may be tiny but she can fight! I looked at the options and decided to try a long handled, double ended toothbrush. I liked the tiny head but couldn’t find a brush with just that size, plus I figured the long handle would keep me safe!! I bought the cheapest one I could find in case I ended up not using it, and it turned out to be a great strategy! My dog Red went ballistic every time I tried, so now I use it for cleaning around the burners on the stove!

Let me clarify. There was nothing wrong with the toothbrush I got, I’m just dealing with a dog that clamps her teeth shut and nothing opens them, so the long handle didn’t give me the control I need.

I read somewhere about using a flat cotton pad wrapped around a finger so I tried that. Although it didn’t go brilliantly I was at least able to get my finger on her teeth, so that was progress. I then started putting toothpaste on it and at least achieved something. Although it was a good solution for the short term, I found it would sometimes get caught on her teeth even though the pad itself was flat, nothing like a cotton ball. Because of that I decided to buy a finger toothbrush suitable for puppies and kittens.

I love the finger brush style because I have a lot more control than I do with a long handled brush, which can easily slip with a squirming dog and hurt them. I’ve even had some success getting into her mouth and rubbing it on her teeth. Yes it’s still an epic battle but it’s definitely the right type for us.

Some options for you to consider


How to choose the best toothbrush for a dog – conclusion

I can’t say enough about how important good oral hygiene is for a dog’s overall health, so I hope you find a toothbrush that works for both of you. If brushing is impossible, it’s good to know that dental chews, bones, water additives and dental wipes are all options that can help.


I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.



*There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running.





Toothbrushes For Small Dogs

toothbrushes for small dogs

Good oral hygiene can literally save your dog’s life, so in this post I’m going to be showing you some examples of toothbrushes for small dogs.

Dog dental care is such an important issue, not enough can be written about it. It is important not only in terms of oral hygiene, but as a way to prevent serious illness. The more often you can brush senior dog dental careyour dog’s teeth the better, but if your dog has other plans, doing something is better than doing nothing. On the days when brushing isn’t happening, try an oral spray, tooth gel, dental chew or toy. 

By all means get your dog a toothbrush, but if it’s been awhile since you’ve had your dog’s teeth checked, I recommend making an appointment with your vet as soon as you can. It’s important to have a clear picture of your dog’s oral health, and whether or not medical intervention is required. Leaving dental issues unresolved can lead to bigger problems down the road. 

In order to help get you set up and brushing your dog’s teeth as soon as possible, I have included links that will allow you to buy the products right away. No pressure here folks, but if you can prevent your dog from having to undergo dental surgery, I wouldn’t waste too much time getting started caring for your dog’s teeth.

Types of toothbrushes

There are a variety of styles to choose from, depending on what your dog will be okay with. Some dogs are agreeable from the get go, others need some encouragement. It’s quite possible finding a toothbrush your dog accepts will be a case of trial and error. There are those with long handles, 3 sides, electric and even ones that fit over your finger. 

Long handled


Micha pet toothbrush for small dogs

Long handled toothbrushes that resemble those we use for ourselves, are one option. There are straight and curved handles, some with one brush, others with a brush on either end – one large and one small.


3 sided toothbrush for small dogs

Three sided toothbrushes cover all parts of the tooth and gum.


electric toothbrush for small dogs

Even electric toothbrushes are available.

Finger brush

Emours finger toothbrush for small dogs

A finger toothbrush that fits, well yes, over your finger, for greater control.

My experience

I can’t get any type of brush near Red’s mouth. She’s only little, but when she clamps those jaws, nothing is opening them, not even my vet. I used to be able to, with a struggle, brush them but not lately. It may have something to do with her dementia, but whatever the reason for her change in attitude, it has been a challenge. I have started using gauze wrapped around my finger, and she tolerates it so I’m considering that a victory.

Toothbrushes for small dogs  – conclusion

How do you brush your dog’s teeth? If you haven’t been taking dental health into consideration, I’m not going to lie, many of us don’t, what will be your first step? Has your dog suffered any health issues as a direct result of dental disease?

When it comes to buying toothbrushes for smaller dogs, it may be a case of trial and error, but it’s too important an issue to not persevere.







which dog toothbrush should I buy

Which Dog Toothbrush Should I Buy?

which dog toothbrush should I buy

Believe me, dental disease is something you’re going to want to avoid if at all possible, and a dog toothbrush is a great start.    

See your vet

Nothing wrong with buying a toothbrush right now (and don’t forget the toothpaste!), but I recommend you make an appointment to have your dog’s teeth checked by your vet. This way you’ll know where you stand in terms of what, if any medical intervention is required, and then you can make a plan.

Okay, here are some toothbrushes

Long handled toothbrushes resemble those we use for ourselves. Straight or curved handles, one head or two, large brushes, small brushes or both. 

Three sided toothbrushes are great for covering all parts of the tooth and gum.

A finger toothbrush that fits, well yes, over your finger, for greater control.

Even electric toothbrushes are available.

Click on the image and it will take you straight to where you can learn more information about the toothbrush, and purchase it if you wish. No pressure, it’s just that I’ve had too much experience with dogs that had dental issues, if I can help you avoid going down that road, I’ll be happy. 

My experience

Red makes it virtually impossible to brush her teeth. You can see in the above video how hard it is for my vet to even have a look in her mouth. She may only weight 10lbs but when she clamps those jaws, nothing is opening them. I imagine the fact she’s blind has something to do with it. I do have a long handled toothbrush with a big brush on one head, a small one on the other which is the perfect size for her mouth. It’s a serious struggle, and not a fun experience because of how stressed she gets. The one thing that is more manageable is wrapping a piece of gauze around my finger and rubbing her teeth with that. 

Which dog toothbrush should I buy  – conclusion

There really are a lot of styles to choose from, you may get lucky with the first one you buy, or it can be a case of trial and error. What’s important is that you start doing something in the way of caring for your dog’s teeth. So, which dog toothbrush will you buy?